1. Omnibot 2000 – As a kid I thought robot companions were just around the corner. I was pretty sure that I would have an android friend when I was an adult, and that most of my daily buttling needs would be handled by a stiff robot without much personality. That sadly hasn’t come to pass (yet), but in the ’80s there was a rush of remote controlled robot toys that reflected and fueled my optimism that a robot utopia wasn’t far away. Omnibot was at the vanguard of that rush.
Omnibot seemed to occupy a butler role, but only if you didn’t really rely on his abilities. From the ad it seems like he’s more of a wiseguy than a standout butler. That would have been fine by me, though. We’d have been pals.
2. The Real Ghostbusters – The Ghostbusters film didn’t really have much in the way of toy support. It had every other licensed item under the sun, but the toy rush came a year later when the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters hit the airwaves.
In addition to being an awesome cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters had a pretty great toy line that was deep, true to the series, and left room for your imagination. Here’s a great commercial for the toys featuring Sludgebucket, a ghost that you PUT SLIME INTO AND WOULD OOZE IT BACK OUT:
3. Madballs – Pretty ’80s concept here: take a toy that’s well accepted and paint it with disturbing and sometimes disgusting faces, which makes parents hate it, which makes kids want it. Madballs were serious business.
Though, if we’re being honest, they weren’t great balls.
4. C.O.P.S. – This was a great TV and comic series in the ’80s, and the toy line was pretty sweet too.
5. Alien Action Figure – Before toys based on the Alien movies were made with the utmost care for every character and setting imaginable and targeted at adults with lots of disposable income, there was this: